Cancer center treatment of America

My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 tonsil cancer the week after Thanksgiving. We are looking into his treatment options. We are being told its to large for surgery. We live in a small town in South Georgia. We have talked to doctors here and we have an appointment with cancer center treatment in Atlanta. Has anyone else used them and what are yalls opinions of this place??


  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
    Welcome to the H&N Group

    Welcome, and sorry you need to be here, but you did find the best support group. So as of now, you are not alone. We have many caregivers and we do how hard this in on them. We also have many that were tonsil as well. Mine was in the larynx just above vocial cords and do to other health reasons, [lungs COPD] surgery was my only option Stage 3 SCC.

    Please read the Superthread read only at the top of the forum list. It has many questions and answers and solutions.

    Her is a list of National ranked Hospitals. You can change it to cancer, it is now set for ENT. I wanted a really ENT and cancer as well.

    This was you can check them out and also check insurance as well.

    This is a very rough road you both are going down and full of twists and turns. There is lidht at the end of the tunnel, and very survivable. Just know time is in weeks and months, not days and weeks. When you do go to any doctor, write down your questions and leave room to write answers. Then you just hand it to the doctor. Mine wrote the answers as he explained them. Reason is you ask a question, and when he answere you get thrown and go blank. It now will be easyer on you as we do understand what you both are going through, and how it can make you feel. You just take one day at a time. Keep swallowing and drinking lots of water, then drink more water to stay hydrated. If you have a bad day and just need to get it out how you feel, this is the place. We know how overwhelming it is. Just come here and vent, [we all do at times] I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. Go to a large place/hospital that has tumor boards. That is where all the doctors see him [Surgeon, Rad Oncoligist, Radiologist to read the CT and XRays, chemo Dr, and I think mine even had a nutritionist.] all get together and all decide what is the best treatment for him, just him.
    Bill     Oct 2013

  • Hondo
    Hondo Member Posts: 6,636 Member
    Hi Lisbilbaker


    I am sorry to hear news like that but you are in the right place to get help and answers to your questions. Like Bill just said reading Superthread is the best place to start then post your questions that did not get answered. I am not a fan of small city or town doctor, I learned a hard lesson dealing with them. If you can look to one of the major cancer intuitions, there you will have best of treatments. Try the link Bill just sent then just go to Google and start searching for major cancer institutions in the USA. Personally I like MD Anderson or Mayo Clinic but there are a lot more out there that are just as good.




    PS: I know this is frightening to you both right now, me I always pray asking God to lead me to the right people. If it is OK with you I will add you both to my pray list.




    Welcome to our family here on CSN H&N




  • Ladylacy
    Ladylacy Member Posts: 773 Member
    Treatment Centers in Atlanta

    My husband was treated at Emory Hospital (the main one) and had a great head and neck specialist.  And the nursing staff at the hospital were great too.   If you are talking about Cancer Center of America in Newnan, GA that is new and it is a for profit treatment center.  I have heard good and bad about them, mainly bad.  The doctor is one you want to make sure has experience and a great deal of experience with the type of cancer you have.  My husband was first treated by our local ENT who found the cancer (laryngeal -- voice box) right off the bat on the first visit.  He recommended radiation and chemo and we didn't think about getting a second opinion because we were too scared and wanted to get treatment started asap.  In hindsight we should have gone for a second opinion with a head and neck specialist because the radiation and chemo didn't touch my husband's cancer and caused other major problems and even possibly the second primary that took his life him.   Then we were referred to Emory and a head and neck specialist who after his own testing did surgery.  The H&N specialist we had at Emory was great.  Very compassionate, great bedside manner and never hurried us even though the waiting room was full.  Took time with my husband and answered all of our questions.

    I feel that it is not always the hospital but the doctor who is the one you want and one that is experienced.  Our second oncologist at Emory left a lot to be desired.  No compassion or bed side manner and could be rude.   While on the other hand the the staff in the chemo area were great at Emory.   Then our first oncologist in our small town was great and knowledgeable but then again some of the second oncologist's nurses were rude and unprofessional. 

    Wishing you and your husband peace and comfort -- Sharon

  • kdot2003
    kdot2003 Member Posts: 143
    HI I live in Lithia Springs

    HI I live in Lithia Springs GA.  I just finished treatment at CTCA.  We drove every day.  I have hypopharyngeal cancer stage 4a.  I'm a nurse so I know alot of nurses that work there and some who have had treatment there. I had a panendoscopy and tonsillectomy because one of my tonsils was glowing like a Christmas light.  The ENT easily saw my tumor in the pyriform sinus (my other ENT did not) I had the 35 rads and 7 Cisplatin.  The doctor showed me the treatment protocols on the first day.  My after treatment PET scan will be three mo after treatment ended so I don't know if it worked.  I did call Emory and they took so long to get back to me I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.  I think that is how CTCA gets more patients, they get you in and get you going be it good or bad.  I had Tomotherapy, the RAD team is awesome.  They have private Chemo and beds too if you ask and they are available.  The infusion team was awesome.  I have a port and a G-tube.  I'll just say I wish I lived closer to MD Anderson but i didnt want to commute I wanted to be home.  I wish Emory had not dragged their heels.  I know they are very busy.  Anyway any questions I'll be happy to answer.  God Bless

    Oh PS my nurse friend who had her breast cancer treated there makes affordable payment plans on her bills.  She assures me they will not take my house for whatever my insurance doesnt pay. We'll See!!

  • Barbaraek
    Barbaraek Member Posts: 626
    If it were me

    I would look at things like how many cases the docs where you are considering treatment see in a much experience with your particular disease do they have? What certifications do the doctors hold?

    You will find good and bad docs in all settings. You want a doctor who has experience and is up to date on the research and recommendations of the National Cancer Institutes.

    You might also want to you if the place where you are treated has access and information about clinical trials. I admit to being a little biased because my husband works for a comprehensive cancer center, so I am perhaps a little bit skeptical about "for profit" cancer centers...but that doesn't mean you will have poor treatment there. Do some homework and make sure you are getting the recommended treatment for your cancer.